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The last wish pdf
‘There were a few. But when they heard the spell was to be lifted and the Striga wasn’t to be killed they mostly shrugged and left.
That’s one of the reasons why my esteem for witchers has grown, Geralt. And one came along, younger than you – I forget his name if he gave it at all. He tried.’
‘The fanged princess spread his entrails over a considerable distance.’
Geralt nodded. ‘That was all of them?’ ‘There was one other.’ Velerad remained silent for a while, and the witcher didn’t urge him on.
‘Yes,’ the castellan said finally. ‘There was one more. At first, when Foltest threatened him with the noose if he killed or harmed the Striga, he laughed and started packing his belongings. But then—’ Velerad leaned across the table, lowered his voice to almost a whisper. ‘—then he undertook the task. You see, Geralt, there are some wise men in Wyzim, in high positions, who’ve had enough of this whole affair. Rumour has it these men persuaded the witcher, in secret, not to fuss around with spells but to batter the Striga to death and tell the
king the spell had failed, that his dear daughter had been killed in self-defence – an accident at work.
The king, of course, would be furious and refuse to pay an Oren in reward. But that would be an end to it. The witty witcher replied we could chase Striga ourselves for nothing.
Well, what could we do? We collected money, bargained . . . but nothing came of it.’ Geralt raised his eyebrows.
‘Nothing,’ repeated Velerad. ‘The witcher didn’t want to try that first night. He trudged around, lay in wait, and wandered about the neighbourhood. Finally, they say, he saw the Striga in action, as she does not clamber from her crypt just to stretch her legs. He saw her and scarpered that night. Without a word.’
Geralt’s expression changed a little, in what was probably supposed to be a smile. ‘Those wise men,’ he said, ‘they still have the money, no doubt? Witchers don’t take payment in advance.’
‘No doubt they still do,’ said Velerad. ‘Does the rumour say how much they offer?’ Velerad bared his teeth in a smile. ‘Some say eight hundred—’ Geralt shook his head.
‘Others,’ murmured the castellan, ‘talk of a thousand.’ ‘Not much when you bear in mind that rumour likes to exaggerate. And the king is offering three thousand.’
‘Don’t forget about the betrothal,’ Velerad mocked. ‘What are you talking about? It’s obvious you won’t get the three thousand.’
‘How’s it obvious?’ Velerad thumped the table. ‘Geralt, do not spoil my impression of witchers! This has been
going on for more than seven years! The Striga is finishing off up to fifty people a year, fewer now people are avoiding the palace. Oh no, my friend, I believe in magic.
I’ve seen a great deal and I believe, to a certain extent, in the abilities of wizards and witches. But all this
nonsense about lifting the spell was made up by a hunch-backed, snotty old man who’d lost his mind on his hermit’s diet. It’s nonsense that no one but Foltest believes.
Adda gave birth to a Striga because she slept with her brother. That is the truth, and no spell will help. Now the
Striga devours people – as Strigas do – she has to be killed, and that is that. Listen: two years ago peasants from some God-forsaken hole near Mahakam were plagued by a dragon devouring their sheep. They set out together, battered the dragon to death with stanchions, and did not even think it was worth boasting about. But we in Wyzim are waiting for a miracle and bolting our doors every full moon, or tying our criminals to a stake in front of the palace, praying the beast stuffs herself and returns to her sarcophagus.’ ‘Not a bad method,’ the witcher smiled. ‘Are there fewer criminals?’…Download the full book from the below link.
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